January 27, 2024

Holy Crap!

If the Orthodox Patriarch and the Catholic Pope each took a dump in the same chamber pot, it would still not warrant the phrase "Holy Crap!" as much as this does. 

And it might stink less.  

So: "Powerful People Back East" are willing to pay a populist large amounts of money to back out, and make oblique references to 'The cartels being active in every state' when she says no. Given the bloodbath happening across the Rio Grande that's a VERY specific reference. 

My thoughts on Trump have already been stated, but this is actually the sort of thing that his supporters can rightly point to that justify their forlorn clinging to him in hopes of stymieing, in some way, undeniably malevolent forces in our leadership cadre. 

As I stated before, I don't think their trust or hope is justified, but, if,  as now seems to be the case, I find myself voting for him in November, I'll hold my nose a little less tightly as I figuratively piss in the wind. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:34 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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January 12, 2024

On Trump

There are, frankly, a LOT of legitimate complaints about the 45th President. 

He's a narcissist. 

He's crude, vulgar, and a bit of a bully.

His business practices have been somewhat predatory, and he does not have much if any personal loyalty, though he is extremely demanding of it in his associates. 

He's old.
Indeed, he seems to be loosing his touch a bit; he is nowhere near the tornado of energy and disruption he was seven or even three years ago. 

In refusing to acknowledge his defeat at the hands of Pay to Play McPuddin'Brain he has done at least as much damage to the fabric of our democracy as Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and that Crazy Lady in Georgia. 

...and despite the election of 2020 being so sus that his opponents openly bragged about colluding against his working class base, he did NOT bring the receipts on that particular claim.

He is now motivated primarily by vengeance and seeks to gut and tear apart with animalistic fury the civil institutions that he feels denied him his second term. 
And yet: He's ahead in the polls...not just for the Republican nomination, but for the presidency itself. 

So why is this happening? Has the country gone insane?

Back in November, I had a conversation with a friend about this. While discussing the toxic contempt in which many of our erstwhile leadership cadre hold anyone who does not share their costal cosmopolitan worldview, I made the mistake of pointing out that I believed this was one of the reasons that working class types support Trump so earnestly. My friend (who is one of the smartest people I've ever known) did not react charitably.  She has come to despise Trump, after the January 6 fiasco and points out his moral failings, being particularly unforgiving with regard to his sharp business practices, and quite remarkably credulous of the assault allegations against him. I was  tired after a 4 hour drive and still suffer neurological aftereffects from the stroke, so I was not able to make a good case. In fairness my friend is sufficiently passionate about this issue for completely legit reasons involving personal experience as well as rock-solid civics concerns. She eloquently rattled off all the points I made at the beginning of the post (which are quite valid by the way) and after several minutes of me ineptly trying to point out that those valid points understandably carry little weight with his supporters, my friend pointed out that "Hey. You've got a really long drive ahead of you. DON'T YOU." And so I left. We've had little contact since aside from E-Mails & thank you notes for Christmas gifts. (In fairness we live 4 hours apart and December was...busy.)

   My friends bewilderment is understandable, as the concerns about Trump are completely legit. However, they are, however principled, 'comfortable class' concerns. A lot of people, even those those like my friend, who have a ton of empathy for the less fortunate in society, have a hard time doing a conditional hypothetical on this particular issue. Conditional hypotheticals are fiendishly hard for us all, and I only have some insight into putting myself into the more enthusiastic Trump supporters shoes because I'm very much in a working class situation at the moment, so this is not any particular brilliance on my part. 

  In short, while all the criticisms of Trump listed in the first paragraph are legit... his supporters have some responses, and in some cases see his apparent flaws as features and not bugs. 

He IS a bit of a narcissist. 

He's got high self esteem! (all those years of teaching self esteem rather than ethics are coming back to bite the left). He also has confidence and a bit of swagger, which is shamefully absent in our bureaucratized ruling class now. Also, where were you when OBAMA was sitting behind Resolute Desk?

He IS crude, vulgar, and a bit of a bully.

He's blunt. If you are working class and male, mentally ill white women are your perpetual tormenters, and someone who has the guts and power sufficient to call an "ugly bitch" what she is, however discourteous it may be, is gonna at least get a nod of agreement, and additional admiration if he is not ruined by the statement of an honest opinion.  

His business practices HAVE been somewhat predatory.

He's a New York real-estate mogul. He plays the game by the rules as they exist, not as how the people at the garden parties think they should be. Furthermore, they will point out that he knows how the game is played, and can better fix the system....this is less than persuasive given that in the 4 years he was in power he did not do so, but , Americans are an aspirational lot.

He seems not to have any downward loyalty. 

Loyalty is a two-way-street! Trump WAS betrayed by his staff and lied to regarding some crucial points regarding troop deployments. His supporters, having seen their jobs sent oversees and their neighborhoods overrun by illegals, both at the behest of those who most often use this criticism...while those same critics show zero loyalty and immense hostility to anyone not in their little circle of smugness....are unpersuaded by the argument. 

In fact, this criticism can easily be turned on its head. Trump has, for well more than thirty years been rather famously gracious to his working class employees (that he doesn't fire), and respectful to working class folks in general. While an undeniably ruthless businessman, he seems to be rare among the New York jet-set in actually appreciating that the construction workers and wait staff are people, and while not the vision and drive of any businesses, they ARE human beings and, moreover, are absolutely vital to them and worthy of respect. This is in STARK contrast to so many of his peers and critics who view those folks as something akin to a mosquito or a bad odor. In fact for many years this habit of Trump's was sometimes portrayed by the wine & cheese set as odd, silly, and dumb. This only furthers his support by the tormented. 

Trump is OLD, and DOES seem to be loosing his sharpness.


This does not actually address the issue, particularly in that we don't want to make the same mistake again, but but the sentiment is completely valid and understandable.

Then there is the matter of Trump, not conceding the admittedly very sus 2020 election, and not giving a great concession speech and going quietly into that dark night. This HAS shaken our republic. 

1st: if you believe that there was election chicanery, and you do nothing because you don't want to make a fuss, you are a coward, you are complicit and you are not doing your civic duty, rather the opposite. 

2nd: Calling for people to go forth peacefully and protest is so far removed from 'stochastic terrorism' as to render the term meaningless.

3rd: while Trump repeated some absurd and lurid claims about fraudulent ballots and flipped votes that he has indeed NOT brought the receipts for. There WERE, in fact, some very concerning things that happened in the lead-up to the election, ranging from the ubiquitization of mail-in ballots, to changes in rules regarding voting, and , most disturbingly, direct interference by the nation's intelligence services in the press to suppress stories critical of the S#!t's & Giggles campaign. The Twitter Files and the aforementioned TIME article being the receipts that Trump did not provide. This is NOT the same as the election thieving narrative that Trump has rather irresponsibly posited, and a very strong argument can be made that especially given that people were locked in there homes with nothing to do except look at the internet which contains the sum total of human knowledge, and they STILL did not avail themselves of information like the Hunter Biden story, that, despite the best efforts of our intelligence services to bury them, were available with just a little effort....that the country got EXACTLY what it deserved. Voting is not just a right, it is a profound responsibility.

But we weren't stupid and lazy. We knew about those stories WE didn't vote against the best three years since the crash of '08! WE didn't deserve this!

But it is a Republic, Trump's supporters are part of the whole of the country and as the saying goes. 'None of us is quite as stupid as all of us'. Which, as it happens, is a very strong argument for limited government.

BUT WAIT! There is a twist to all of this. There ARE actual arguments for Trump that are not reactions to the myriad of legit criticisms. 

1: Until COVID hit, The Trump administration presided over the best economic growth the country has seen since he crash of '08 and for two years some of the best we've seen this century. This economic growth was not, as has been the case since the late 90's concentrated solely on the upper echelons of the investor class, rather, industrial jobs started coming back, and real wages for Blacks, Hispanics, and working class Whites went up by historic levels.

Who cares that these inbreads have it better? THE TWEETSES ARE MEAN!

2: There were no new wars aside from a missile strike in response to a chemical weapons attack on civilians, and some counter piracy operations and counterterrorism raids. The ongoing war against ISIL/ DAESH was brought to a close, the withdrawal from Afghanistan was negotiated (in a fashion rather different than the shameful fiasco actually proceeded with by Trump's successor) and Trump opened negotiations with North Korea, a dicey proposition to be sure but one that expressed Trumps preference to "Jaw jaw rather than war war. " This is extremely important to some of his base which counts among its members a large number of the nations military families....families that feel they were lied to about WMDs for one thing. 

WHO CARES! I don't! I'm too smart to be in the military. I went to a GOOD SCHOOL 'CAUSE I'M SMART! This is affecting my portfolio! My Raytheon stock is going down! Who cares about these Chud's toxically masculine kids? He's sucking up to dictators that those stewpid hicks who signed on the dotted line need to die to stop, COWARD! TRAITOR! Did I mention that the tweets are MEAN!?

Now you may have noticed that the last two conditional hypotheticals might, just perhaps, not been quite as thoughtful, fair minded, or even honest in their assessment of Trump's foes as those of his supporters were. That's because the post is not about them, Many eloquent and well written analyses of people's good faith opposition to DJT can be found pretty much everywhere without looking too hard. However, the above noted views are the way Trump's SUPPORTERS see the arguments against their more practical arguments for Trump. And, very occasionally, with certain individuals, those views are more correct than not. 

Like it or not Donald J. Trump, is, in the U.S.A. in current year...our TRIBUNE OF THE PLEBS.

He and the rest of the movement are hated not just because of the very legitimate criticisms of Trumps behavior and policies (and if I haven't made it clear I do think that some of them are actually legit)  but rather a loathing of his working class base which is seen as unclean and dangerous by the creepy, corrupt, coastal, cosmopolitan, credentialed, class*

This has very real issues with trying to persuade them to switch over because attacks on Trump are perceived as (and frequently are) attacks on them personally. And to them, looking seriously at Ramaswamy or DeSantis feels like a betrayal. Trump, whatever his faults (and they are legion) is the ONLY president since Regan who catered to them in campaign and even TRIED to keep his promises to them. Furthermore his policies (and perhaps his inability to do a lot due to the opposition of the Civil Service to virtually everything he attempted) resulted in the lives of working class people, on average, improving dramatically under his administration....until COVID 19, that bastard child of China and the U.S. federal health bureaucracy.....brought everything crashing down. 

Then came the Biden Administration which bullied them with far more torturous lockdowns than Trump had done, MANDATED (rather than provide as an emergency option)  an untested vaccine (developed in record time thanks to the efforts of Trump), and which has been applying the law as unevenly as is common in third world countries, in what seems to them to be an attempt to punish them for voting for their perceived interests. These are people who have suffered immensely in the tumultuous advancements of the last 30 years and can palpably sense the hostility and utter contempt they are viewed with by this nations leadership cadre and they will support Trump not just because that to them he seems to be the only lifeline in a storm, but because he is a thumb in the eye to their tormentors. 

This is unfortunate, not the least because I really don't think Trump can win the General Election later this year. The polls do not agree with that last sentence at the moment, but while Trump's plethora of legal cases are seen (I think rightly to a rather large degree) to be politically motivated third world level bulls#!t, when he gets convicted of one of them (And he will! Some are probably legit and most of these are being tried in virtually kangaroo courts.) He will be a felon. And his support will drop like a rock. There's also the ongoing effort to get him off the ballot in several states, including swing states, which, as troubling as it is, may well leave him with an insurmountable hurdle in the electoral college. Combine these two factors with the white hot screeching hatred with which he is hated by Affluent White Female Unhinged Lefties and pretty much anyone in the comfortable class coalition and you have a sure prescription for an absolutely crushing debacle at the polls in November. A defeat so comprehensive and total that his coattails might well make the event be on a par with the fate of the Whigs in 1860.  

If as seems likely, he gets the nomination, I'll hold my nose and vote for him, the stakes are too high not to, but I think that if he does not bow out, and do so gracefully, he will burn down everything, including his base which sees him as their final hope. 

The alternatives though are not great. Viveck Ramaswammy is intelligent, articulate, passionate, empathetic, and smart, and as a bonus seems to hate Nicky Haley with a passion almost worthy of her loathsomeness. However, he has a definite used car salesman vibe and while a certifiable genius and competent businessman, is completely untested in government, which is necessarily quite different from business, as Trump found out to his detriment. 

De Santis is a diffident campaigner, though he has proven to be a remarkably effective governor and good steward of Florida. He sucks as a campaigner and only got the governors job by being drug over the finish line by Trump. His sheer competence helped him get a massive re election victory in Florida, in spite of extremely unfair news coverage that painted him as every sort of bigot, but his lack of campaign acumen has come to the forefront again as he ineptly seeks the advice of the Republican campaign establishment and finds himself neck in neck with and possibly behind one of the most loathsome politicians the Republicans have ever produced: Hillary with a diversity card, the cultural quisling chickenhawk girlboss, who will do anything and betray anyone to climb into the box seat and get invited to the garden party, Nickey Haley. 

Still, I like DeSantis. The fact that he is more focused on governance than campaigning is actually indicative of a level of professionalism that I have come to despair of ever seeing in a national level campaigner again. The total inability of him to tell his tone-deaf  campaign staff to stop insulting the base and sock-puppeting and  to go pound sand does not fill me with any confidence that he could win the general though. His military service is sometimes ridiculed (he was a J.A.G.) but he was forward deployed and while not a combat rate, it is a necessary one and he did sign on the dotted line in a time of war...unlike most people running for high office. 

But these three and the others are all far behind Trump in the primary polls. 

The question many in our ruling class are asking is "How is this possible?" and I think I've answered that. Torment and express contempt for a whole group of people and they might not like you very much. 

It can be and might get worse though...

The late Nelson Mandela often quoted an old proverb from the region around the Cape of Good Hope "A child that is despised and cast out into the cold by a village may one day come back and burn it down to feel it's warmth" 

It is a proverb that our ever so smug ruling class might want to ponder, lest this populist discontent turn dark out of desperation...... as so many such benighted movements have historically.  

* This post is going to piss EVERYBODY off, but at least I got off a 6 point alliteration in the text. Go Me!

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